As one of 10 children, he was one of 5 brothers to serve in World War II at the same time. His oldest brother Mac was a paratrooper in the Army, his brother Steve a member of the US Navy. Gus served as a tail-gunner in the B-17 over Germany, and his brothers Yordy and Dave both served in the Marines.
In 28 years of service to his country, he amassed over 8000 hours of flying time. He was stationed in 5 different countries. His travel throughout the world was extensive in both his military and civilian life. He moved his wife and family 47 different times.
He was qualified to fly the P-38 Lightning, and was one of the first pilots in the USAF designated to fly the F-86 Sabre jet in combat during the Korean War. But he is most well known for his prowess as a fighter pilot in the famed P-51 Mustang.
On February 21st, 1944 he was shot down. Due to the extensive research of Thierry Kleinprintz, a noted Air War Historian, it has been determined that he was most likely shot down by the famous German Fighter Ace, Heinz Bär. John Mattie was a Prisoner of War at Stalag Luft-1 in Barth, Germany for over 15 months.
In 1967, he moved his family to Wilmington Delaware, where he started a second career as an Elementary School Teacher and a Certified Public Accountant for small business owners.